The Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) has received a formal complaint from a group of telecoms companies against BT’s business practices.

The group, which includes Kingston Communications, Colt Telecoms and Energis, claims that BT's roll-out of broadband services discriminates against its rivals, said a Colt spokesman on Monday.

The complaint, sent last Friday, "is a private document" pointing out "the undue preferences BT is giving to its ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) customers", the spokesman said.

Unfair The group is calling on Oftel to ensure fair play on BT's part and also demanding fair access to BT's exchanges so they too can roll out broadband services, which would include delivering TV and video over traditional copper wires, the spokesman said.

Oftel is already under attack for "badly mishandling" its efforts to speed deregulation in the Internet sector, a charge which Oftel disputes.

Stifled An Oftel spokeswoman said: "As far as Oftel is concerned, we totally refute the charge that Oftel has stifled the growth of Internet services. On the contrary, the UK has led the way in promoting cheap Internet access in Europe."

Oftel determined last November that BT has a monopoly on the local-network lines and directed the telecommunications operator to lease the local loop. At the time, Oftel directed BT to upgrade the local loop to handle new broadband-digital services for faster Internet connections, and to encourage competition. BT was given a deadline of July 2001.